Another day, another W
FORT WHITE — Assistant coach Chad Padgett kept yelling at Raven Miles.
“Balance beam! Balance beam!”
That’s because Miles hit four balls over the fence off a balance beam in practice before Tuesday night’s game against Bronson.
She didn’t take the Lady Eagles deep, but she still made them pay with her bat nonetheless.
Miles went 3-for-3 with four RBI and three runs scored to help lead Fort White to a 14-1 win over Bronson at home on Teacher Appreciation Night. The Lady Indians’ third baseman was part of a seven-run third inning that turned a close game into a blowout that ended after five innings.
“She’s just strong. She sees the ball well, she’s got great hand-eye coordination,” Padgett said.
Fort White (14-0) sent 10 batters to the plate in the third as Bronson pitcher Emily Sheppard struggled to get an out. After Sheppard walked Kylee Crews and surrendered a single to Morgan Cushman, Miles doubled into the right field gap for two runs that put the Lady Indians ahead 5-1.
Savana Terry then hit a two-RBI single after Sheppard walked a batter and hit another. Sheppard then loaded the bases before Alexis Bias cleared the diamond with a double that extended Fort White’s lead to 10-1.
Despite the big victory, head coach Michelle Padgett said Fort White looked a little sloppy at times after an eight-day layoff. Whether it was failing to lay down a bunt or chasing pitches out of the strike zone, the Lady Indians know they’ll need to play better in Thursday night’s pivotal district game against Union County.
A win against Union County would give Fort White the one-seed in the district tournament for the first time in school history.
“They’re doing great things in practice but some of it we’re not seeing transferred into a game situation,” Padgett said. “It’s kind of like a middle of the season slump. They just got through nine-week exams, they’re tired right before spring break … they’re flat and they can’t play flat against Union County.”
Flat or not, Sheppard still gave up 14 earned runs on 10 hits while walking five batters and hitting another. Shelby Dubose had an two-RBI double in the fourth before Terry drove in another with a sacrifice fly and Jessica Burns brought another run in with a single.
Dubose also had an RBI with a sacrifice fly in the first, right after Miles had another two-RBI double for the game’s first runs.
Cushman pitched another complete game, giving up zero earned runs while striking out five Lady Eagles. The only run Bronson (4-10) put on the scoreboard came in the top of the third on a two-out single by Faith Hyde that scored Morgan Sheffield, who reached on an error to begin the frame.
But even the eight-day break seemed to affect Fort White’s ace a little.
“She didn’t have her A-game. You could tell that little layoff really hurt her,” Chad Padgett said.
The Padgetts still aren’t worried about their squad heading into the showdown with Union County. They believe they played down to their competition a little against Bronson and admitted they play harder against tougher teams.
And Union County will be the toughest yet.
“We won, that’s great, but like we’ve said all season — we know they can play better, they can hit better,” Michele Padgett said. “That’s what we just asked them, ‘what do you all think?’ ‘Oh we played horrible’ and that’s the thing, they know they can play better. They practice better but I think there’s a lull. If you’re not challenged as much you kind of don’t try as hard so I think they’ll be pumped up (Thursday).”